South East builds boat for Cultural Olympiad

The Boat Project The boat is currently under construction at Thornham Marina in Emsworth

Wood from the Ark Royal and Brighton's West Pier are among donations being used to build a 30ft seafaring boat as part of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad.

More than 5,000 people have so far contributed to the Boat Project, commissioned by the Arts Council.

The vessel being built at Thornham Marina in Emsworth, Hampshire will sail along the south coast from Weymouth, ending in London during the Olympics.

As well as seeking more wood, the team wants nominations for crew members.

"She is looking fantastic and is sure to be a fast and exciting ride," said double Olympic silver medal-winning sailor Ian Walker, a member of Itchenor Sailing Club in Chichester, West Sussex.

"What a great opportunity for anyone with a passion for sailing to crew this unique boat.

"Her maiden voyage will be the experience of a lifetime."

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Crew members must be over 16 but no prior sailing experience is necessary.

Performance artists Gregg Whelan and Gary Winters, who work under the name Lone Twin, won the public art commission for the South East and are leading the project.

It is one of 12 public commissions in nine English regions and in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Lone Twin said wood of all shapes and sizes will be accepted as long as it has an interesting story behind it.

Donation days

A series of donation days are being held across the South East for people to make gifts of wood and nominate crew members.

They begin in Kent on Wednesday at the Gulbenkian Theatre, Canterbury and at Gravesend Civic Square on Thursday.

Events are being held at Lockwood Day Centre on Slyfield Industrial Estate, Guildford on 26 June, Portland Marina, Dorset on 8 July and Royal Lymington Yacht Club on 10 July.

Two donation days are being held in Sussex, at Billingshurst Library on 16 July and Bexhill seafront by the De La Warr Pavilion on 23 July.

The final event is at Rivermead Leisure Complex, Reading on 24 July.

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